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Publisher's Summary

It is the rainy season; a drunk and delirious old man lies dying in the Queensland bush. In his opium-hazed last hours, a priest finds his deserted shack and listens to his last words. Half-awake and half-dreaming the old man tells the story of an adventure set decades in the future, in a very different world…
©2012 Nevil Shute (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

“Shute is an honest, exciting adventure writer who blends narrative gift with a fine power of description." (John Betjeman)
"That shattering, unaffected, literary style of his is wholly deceptive...is, in fact, masterly." (H.E. Bates)

What listeners say about In the Wet

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

not Shute's best, but still worth reading

This is my 9th Shute audiobook, and most have been excellent reads. This is worth reading, with reservations: First, you know the racial slur that rhymes with bigger? Most of the book is a tale about a person whose name is that slur, and he's ok with it and tells people to call him that, so you hear that word more than you've ever heard it before, and that detracts from the story.
Second, the tale is partly about political relations between England and Australia, and to me it was pretty far-fetched.
I'll probably listen to the rest of Shute's audiobooks but hope to get them on sale.

3 people found this helpful

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One of Shutes best

Read / listened to most of Shute’s books. This is one of his best. I recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it!

Thought provoking view of what might occur in the future in a struggle between the British parliment and the monarchy--from the perspective of a reluctant witness.

1 person found this helpful

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Alternate history with fantasy element

The story apparently takes place in the 1950s, with the future imagined (for the 1970s/1980s).

The author takes the reader through racial themes (and a mixed-race romance) and political themes (examining the Commonwealth, the Crown, dirty politics, conservatism and socialism).

The story was well done, but a bit slow. The language/performance was a bit stilted (in common with the other two books by this author that I've read). It took a little patience at times to make it through slow sections and there was some repetition that I found distracted from the story.

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Wonderful story

This has always been one of my favorite Nevil Shute books, along with The Rainbow and the Rose and Round the Bend.

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Not his best work

Remember always that this is written in the 50s. It can seem a little disjointed.

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Shute is prophetic

With the future that could be, Shute delves into Britain's experiment with Socialism. Although his time line is off, and he could not foresee the "decimalization" of English currency and its acceptance of the Metric system in the 60's, he is on the mark politically. I lived there in those times, and he predicted the political mess perfectly. A worthy read or listen.

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I could not finish this because of the N-word!!!

What would have made In the Wet better?

I realize that this book was written in the 1950's, but that is no excuse in my opinion. The protagonist nickname is the N-word, and worth part about it is that he has no problem being called the N-word. Just wish Mr. Shute or his editor had had to intelligence to realize that this subtle racism is not ok.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I am currently listening to "The Doom" by Stephen King.

What about Gary Waldhorn’s performance did you like?

He did a good job with this subpar material.

What character would you cut from In the Wet?

The protagonist whose nickname is the N-word.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pauline
  • 01-21-13

A Nice Change

I really enjoy a Nevil Shute book - no gratuitous bad language or sex - just a good story.

In this one a priest delirious from an attack of malaria sits with a dying man in 1950's Australia. The priest 'dreams' and the old man babbles his life story. Somehow the story becomes a futuristic England around 1980/90 - not as we know it, but as the author imagines it might be.

An interesting and easy listen narrated perfectly by Gary Waldhorn.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 04-13-13

Nevil Shute has worn well

I last read this book about 40 years ago and then the story was set in the future.

Also I have now visited Australia during "The Wet" and have a picture in my mind that was not there before.

Now the future has happened and it is interesting to compare his predictions against current history.

He still remains a master story teller and the narrator of this book is superb.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ninjadad23
  • 06-10-21

uncomfortable listen

looked forward to revisiting this classic story that I fondly recalled but the passage of time has seen the language and terminology, commonplace then, now dated and quite uncomfortable to listen to causing me not to finish.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Day Tripper
  • 09-24-21

Very hard to listen to in 2021

Written in 1953 when racism, sexism and class bigotry was even more ingrained and normalised than it is now, this novel is very hard to listen to today. The mixed-race guy is humbled by his mixed heritage and happily accepts the 'n' word as his first name - which is mentioned every six and a half seconds. The Royal Family is also put on a pedestal that grates for anyone not a staunch royalist. The story device is very interesting but the wincing and anger I felt listening to this was not worth it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Patricia
  • 04-13-13

In the wet

An excellent book I could not stop listening. Though it was written over fifty years ago some of it is life like today. A truly good read and I would recommend it to anyone







2 people found this helpful

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  • Dr
  • 09-30-18

This is a complex and intriguing story that had me hooked and unable to stop listening

I started listening early in the day, but had to break off for a short while. I cold not wait to resume, and kept on until the end. Shute had a great insight into The Commonwealth, and his portrayal of the post war England, with its Socialist government, resonated well with my own life in the 50’s. I doubt if the political climate nowadays would permit some of the racial undertones, but they were sensitively handled, and well written. If you like “fantasy” mixed with reality, this book will be just the ticket. A great read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Yael G.
  • 05-04-22

Good story, challenging reader

I've only recently discovered Nevil Shute and so far I'm enjoying his books very much. I've so far 4 or 5 books and they were all excellently read. This is sadly not the case with this book. The reader, though competent in some ways, makes the most annoying pauses in bizarre places, and adds unnecessarily dramatic emphasis to completely neutral phrases. I'm managing to get through the book but with some effort...

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  • helen
  • 12-04-21

Slow Burner- very good

I found this book to be a "slow burner" . I liked it from the start, but I have to admit that I did get a bit confused a quarter of the way through it when "Stevie" was dying. Then I realised that this story was sort of supernatural in a mild way and everything began to make sense. The narration is very good. It does make you think while you are listening.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-13-21

Absorbing. Loved it.

This is a good story, kept me riveted. Narration suits perfectly. It's amazing it was,written so long ago. I first read Neville Shute at least 50 years ago, and had forgotten how good a writer he was. Don't think I read this one then, though. I listened to it whilst decorating and did more work than I intended, rather than break off from the plot.

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  • vasco444
  • 02-12-21

A gripping tale

In the typical way of Nevil Shute this tale built steadily on the plot and became more and more gripping. I found the. story and the characters utterly believable and was right there with them. Even though I knew the book already, I found it hard to put this down. Nevil Shute is such a skilled storyteller - he never fails.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-19

Worst reading of an audio book ever

Gary Waldhorn was enjoyable as David Horton in The Vicar of Dibley, but he must be the most boring narrator I've heard - sometimes I wasn't sure whether he was falling asleep, or was drunk!

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  • Paddington
  • 11-29-15

Fascinating novel

I enjoyed this story very much. It was an interesting prediction of 30 years later on the state of England and its Commonwealth. Set in the difficult terrain of afar North Queensland with fascinating but believable characters.